How do you grade a college list?

College Kickstart assigns a list grade based on the mix of schools in a student’s list.  Our overarching objective is to promote the importance of a balanced list, and a higher list grade indicates a more balanced list.

There are three steps to the grading process:

  • Categorize schools into likelies, targets, reaches and unlikelies based on the selectivity of the schools in a student’s list and the student’s academic competitiveness relative to each school’s entering class.
  • Compare the resulting mix of schools to our reference standard.  We like to see at least 2 likely schools, 3 targets and 2 reaches in an ideal list.
  • Assign a list grade based on this assessment (including the presence of unlikelies in the list)

Based on counselor feedback, we’re pleased to introduce two new refinements for 2018:

  • Two likely school minimum.  The minimum number of likelies in an ideal list increases from 1 to 2.  

Grade adjustments for lists with too many schools.  Historically, list grades in College Kickstart have been driven by the presence of a minimum number of likelies, targets and reaches in a list.  Beginning in 2018, we will adjust grades downward in situations where there are too many schools in a list.  This will begin to occur when there are more than 4 likelies, 5 targets or 6 reaches in a list and the deductions will increase as the overages become more pronounced.

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